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Green Tea and Elderberry Pop Tarts: Flavorful Breakfast Recipe

Andrea is a home baker who loves to perfect challenging cakes, breads, and the like. She is on a quest to find the perfect flavor combos.

Pop tarts are great for breakfast or as a teatime snack. I added the glaze a bit wildly, but I honestly couldn't resist adding more because it's so delicious.

Pop tarts are great for breakfast or as a teatime snack. I added the glaze a bit wildly, but I honestly couldn't resist adding more because it's so delicious.

Green Tea and Elderberry Pop Tarts

For me, summer is about drinking chilled green tea while sitting on my patio to watch thunderstorms. It's also about picking berries with family and going on dates to old country restaurants where they serve turkey sandwiches with goat cheese and homemade jam.

Following a long day of yard work, I prefer a cold cup of green tea over lemonade. I like the sweetness of sencha over the grassy aftertaste of matcha. I keep a pitcher of iced green tea ready for hot and humid days in St. Louis.

My love of tea and berries led to a new recipe to combine the best ingredients I could find to create out-of-this-world pop tarts. The pastries taste somewhat like shortbread cookies. They're not as dry as store-bought pop tarts.

For me, the star of the show is the elderberry jam—its unique tart flavor resonates on the tongue and in the back of the throat. I think green tea and elderberry are a match made in heaven, like chocolate and strawberries.

The look of these pop tarts will also catch people's attention. Green and purple are complementary contrasts, so the light greenish-yellow hue of a sencha tea pastry with the dark purplish-red of elderberry jam will draw eyes to it. Once you taste a spoonful of the green tea glaze, you won't be able to resist the pastries.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

4 hours

25 min

4 hours 25 min

9-10 pop tarts

A green tea and elderberry pop tart cut in half.

A green tea and elderberry pop tart cut in half.

Timing Notes

The pop tart recipe will take a long time. I suggest making it when you have a lot of free time at home. It's best to start them in the morning. Here is a breakdown of how long things take to do:

  • Grinding the green tea: This can take about 5-6 cycles in a food processor (about 10 minutes).
  • Preparing the dough: Making the dough, shaping it into discs, and wrapping the sections in plastic takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • Chilling time: The doughs need to chill for about 1 hour.
  • Rolling, cutting, sealing, etc.: Rolling out the dough, getting exact measurements, cutting it, adding jam, sealing dough, and egg washing can take a long time to get right. The buttery dough is malleable but sometimes it doesn't want to stretch or will split in half. This portion of the recipe takes patience. It could take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Baking: The pop tarts bake for about 25 minutes.
  • Making the glaze: The glaze takes about 10-15 minutes to make if you have to initially ground up the tea.
  • Assembling: It takes 5 minutes to assemble the glaze on the pop tarts.

Baking Difficulty

The recipe is challenging, but if you can stay organized and follow the directions carefully, you'll be able to create these mouthwatering treats.

On a difficulty scale of one to five, I would give this recipe four stars. One star is for something easy that a child could do, like following a cake box recipe. The five stars rating is for a restaurant-level tiramisu.

The green tea and elderberry pop tarts recipe takes patience and time. Any recipe that takes a lot of time and effort is harder to master.

For beginner bakers, this recipe would likely prove challenging. The hardest part is going to be working with the buttery dough and getting the right measurements. The dough is malleable but it will require precision and stamina.

The nice part is that you can easily rework, reshape, and fix any dough rectangles that break (at least before you add jam). Sealing buttery dough back together is easy.

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You also have to be precise when adding jam, egg wash, crimping, and cutting slits for ventilation. I would not put a child in charge of this recipe.

Green tea and elderberry pop tarts

Green tea and elderberry pop tarts

Ingredients

For the pastries:

  • 5 tablespoons sencha green tea, ground
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 butter sticks (1 cup) butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, for egg wash

For the filling:

  • elderberry jam or jelly

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (more likely needed to get the right consistency)
  • 4 tablespoons sencha green tea
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Substitutions

I've listed a couple of substitutions for this recipe for your convenience. I've also listed the exact green tea I used for the pop tarts.

Green Tea

If you are wanting a stronger green color for your pop tarts, you could use matcha powder. This will give it a more vegetal or grassy taste whereas sencha tea is sweeter and more nuanced. If you're using matcha powder, use 2 tablespoons for the pastry and 2 teaspoons for the glaze. You don't have to heat up the milk for the glaze if using matcha powder.

The green tea I used for my pop tarts is a sencha blend from Oregon Tea Traders. It's called Jade Blossom Tea. There are some benefits to using this tea with baked goods. Its flavor profile includes pomegranates and blackberries, so it will pair well with treats that include summery fruits. This tea is a perfect match for elderberries.

Jade Blossom Tea is refreshing and mild. It has no bitterness. It's smooth, sweet, and tastes like the green tea flavor used for ice cream at sushi restaurants.

You don't have to use the exact product that I've mentioned; there are plenty of sencha green teas that will work just fine. I recommend brewing a cup of tea and trying it out before using it in a baking recipe.

Elderberry Jam

Stores don't always have elderberry jam. You may have to go to a smaller market or organic shop to find elderberries. Another summery berry jam will work just fine. I recommend blackberry or strawberry jelly as a substitution.

If you happen to come across huckleberry jam, that will also make for tasty green tea pop tarts.

Green tea and elderberry pop tarts on a board with a blue cloth underneath. There is a table of breakfast foods and dishes.

Green tea and elderberry pop tarts on a board with a blue cloth underneath. There is a table of breakfast foods and dishes.

Instructions

  1. If using loose leaf sencha green tea, you'll need to grind it down. You can do this in a food processor. It may take a few cycles to break down the leaves.
  2. Add flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder to a large bowl. Stir them together with a spoon. Add the ground green tea.
  3. Add the butter cubes. Keep stirring and mixing together until the butter forms berry-sized crumbles. I recommend using a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla extract one at a time. Stir until the dough comes together. Squeeze the dough together with your hands to help the dough to mesh together.
  5. Flour a clean surface area where you'll work on the dough. Knead the dough and work it into a neat ball. Cut the dough in half with a knife. Flatten both dough sections into discs. Individually wrap the doughs in plastic. Let them chill for at least 1 hour.
  6. Remove one of the dough sections from the fridge. Remove the plastic and with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle measuring 9 inches and 12 inches. It should be about 1/8 of an inch thick.
  7. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough into nine equal rectangles. It should be about 3 inches wide and 4 inches long. Place the rectangles on the prepared tray. Extra dough that was trimmed off during the cutting process can be used to thicken the thinner rectangles. Put the tray into the fridge to chill.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the second dough. Place the cut rectangles on a new baking tray with parchment paper, not the same tray you prepared for the first dough.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the first sheet of dough from the fridge. Add about 1/2 a tablespoon to 1 tablespoon of jam onto the center of each rectangle. Less jam will result in less chance for leakage. Leave 1/4 inch of space around the border. Lightly egg wash the borders of the rectangles.
  10. Remove the second sheet of dough from the fridge. Gently lay the rectangles on the jam-topped rectangles. Use a fork to crimp and seal the rectangles. Use a sharp knife to make 2-3 cuts on the tops of the pop tarts (this helps with ventilation). Egg wash the sides again.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes. The pastries should be lightly browned, particularly on the sides. It should reach an internal temperature of about 170–175°F, this is the temperature recommended for pies. Move the pop tarts to a wire rack. Let them cool down before adding the glaze. This will take approximately 30 minutes.
  12. For the glaze: Whisk powdered sugar and ground sencha green tea. It should be smooth. The more tea you add, the darker the color will be. It will also carry more caffeine.
  13. Heat up the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. I recommend using a tall coffee cup. You want the milk to be hot, but you don't want it to explode. (The hot milk will activate the color of the green tea for the glaze. You will get a dark green color initially.)
  14. Stir in the milk. Add more powdered sugar to thicken the glaze. The green color will get lighter and look more like the color commonly associated with green tea ice cream. Your mixture should be somewhat spreadable and not something that's going to run off your pastries. Use a spoon to slowly add the glaze. The glaze will stiffen on the pop tarts.
  15. Store the treats in an airtight container. You can keep them in the fridge. This will help them to last longer. You can heat them up in the microwave for 20-30 seconds if desired.

Recipe Notes

After the dough has chilled, it may take a couple of minutes before it loosens up enough for you to stretch and cut. If it starts to get too malleable, you can put it back in the fridge to firm up. You can easily adjust pieces that need to be fixed by using your fingers. Do use the extra dough to thicken rectangles that may have become thin during the reshaping or when moving to the parchment paper.

Do not skip grounding the green tea. You do not want large inedible chunks in your pastries.

If you want to use less tea so there isn't as much caffeine, you could rely on green food coloring to bring out the colors of the pastries and glaze. You could also use matcha powder. Sencha tea is generally green-yellow (similar to apple juice) whereas matcha is more vibrant green (it has a high concentration of chlorophyll and L-theanine).

When it comes to the glaze, there are a couple of options when it comes to applying it. You could drizzle the pop tarts by making zigzags with a spoon. You could also cover the centers with the glaze. You don't need a knife to spread it. Its consistency should be somewhere between spreadable and pourable.

Pairing Suggestions

Pop tarts are typically a breakfast food. The pastries also make for a refreshing afternoon or evening snack. They're a nice dessert after a typical breakfast of bacon and eggs. Here are some of my pairing suggestions:

  • Fruit (particularly strawberries)
  • Plain vanilla yogurt
  • Savory snack of sausage links, ham, or breakfast casserole

© 2022 Andrea Lawrence

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